Cuckoo flowers

Cuckoo flower South Downs

A flower named after the Cuckoo, and here’s why

The verges are frothing with Cuckoo Flower this week. It’s a great example of a plant that’s flowering earlier than it did in centuries gone by. It’s named after the Cuckoo but its feathered namesake won’t arrive in the UK for at least another three weeks – in times gone by the plant and the bird appeared at the same time.

By the way, Cuckoo Flower (or Lady’s Smock) is said to be sacred to the fairies! If you pick the flowers and take them home you’ll be in for bad luck! Oooh err!

Hedgerow in bloom!

Hedgerow Celandine

A walk around Bepton

The warm, sunny weather brought out the best of the best this weekend. Skylarks, Chiffchaffs and Yellowhammers singing ten to the dozen; Brimstones and Commas flitting through the garden, and the hedgerows packed with spring flowers. From left to right: Lesser Celandine, Primrose, Old Man’s Beard, Viola (Violet), Wood Anemone, Willow and Mint Sauce too.

Continue reading “Hedgerow in bloom!”

Spring is sprung… early this year

Blackthorn in flower

Spring has sprung much earlier in 2011

According to this article in The Guardian we are having an unusually early spring. Key indicators are Hawthorn in leaf, Blackthorn blossom in the hedgerows (seen here in Bepton) and frogs spawning. After a cold December, temperatures in January and February were relatively warm which has lead to spring rapidly unfolding in 2011. The only question that remains of course, is to wonder where the birdies is?

Blackthorn is one our earliest flowering hedgerow plants and provides a valuable source of nectar and pollen for bees in spring. Its foliage is a food plant for caterpillars of many moths and birds nest among the dense, thorny twigs and branches. It’s also famous for its fruit – ‘Sloes’. Which taste jolly good in Sloe Vodka! It’s said that witches make their wands and staffs from Blackthorn too…